The city of Hermiston, in collaboration with the cities of Umatilla and Stanfield, will soon begin offering low-cost taxi service to workers in the three communities.
The West-End Workforce On-Demand Ride Cooperative (WORC) subsidizes taxi transit to and from the workplace with funds available through a state payroll tax. The pilot program, which begins Oct. 1, will cover 65 percent of the cost of a taxi ride, leaving the other 35 percent to the rider.
The Hermiston City Council approved the program during Monday night’s meeting.
WORC is intended to expand Hermiston’s transportation options in coordination with the HART bus route. By partnering with Hermiston Taxi Company, employees who have trouble getting to and from their jobsite, for whatever reason, can use a pre-paid punch card to receive a discounted ride.
“Employers have told us reliable transportation is a major issue for retaining employees,” said Hermiston Mayor Dr. Dave Drotzmann. “The WORC program ensures that people have an affordable and efficient way to get to work and back home again.”
Applications for WORC punch cards are available beginning Monday, Sept. 2 at Hermiston City Hall, 180 N.E. Second St. Proof of employment is required, and prices start at $2.50 a ride inside Hermiston city limits and increase for people who live and/or work outside the city limits.
Employers can learn more about the program during two workshops in August – first on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at noon at the Hermiston Community Center or Monday, Aug. 26, at 5:30 p.m., at Hermiston City Hall.